Radar COVID: The Government app that tracks infections

We still continue with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, although a longer time living with the virus is predicted. Technology is playing, and will play, an important role in the development of a vaccine or tools to combat the disease. A vivid example is the Radar COVID app , which has just been launched recently.

This app is endorsed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Government of Spain , which has decided to launch a tool on the market that allows controlling the spread of infections and above all, monitoring individuals who have had contact with those infected. That is why it is important to have the app installed on the terminal so that it is easier to monitor that control, all in an area of ​​total privacy since it does not ask for email, telephone and not even the name.

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COVID radar

Developer: Ministry of Economic Affairs and Transf. Digital

COVID Radar: What it is and how it works

As we say, it is created by the Secretary of State, with a system similar to that launched by other countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom or France. It aims to prevent the spread of infections by the virus, creating a network with all the contacts close to the infections and which also allows us to communicate anonymously to the authorities about the positives of which we are aware. This is whether it is us or someone you know who has been tested.

Its operation consists of notifying anonymously of the contact that we have had with infected people in the last 14 days and within 2 meters . These notices come, obviously, after detecting the positives. In addition, you can record contact tracing through Bluetooth connectivity, determining how close our device has been to that of the person who has subsequently tested positive.

The app works with the API function that both Android and iOS have long incorporated through an agreement. This system allows the authorities and official institutions to track contacts without creating an app from scratch, that is why the famous section “Notification of exposures to COVID-19” appears in the settings menu . With this API, Radar COVID can calculate who we have been in contact with and what the level of contagion risk is.

How to register in the Radar COVID-19 app

It is noted that one of the premises of this app was to make it simple for the use of users of all types and ages. The interface is very simple and intuitive, since it only has three sections of content, two of which are merely informative about the operation of the app or the Coronavirus. We must focus on the first one, which shows exposure to the virus and everything related to the contact of those infected and about our PCR result.

The only requirements that Radar COVID asks for is that it can work in the background by activating a button and that we have Bluetooth connected. As we have said, only use this connection, avoiding GPS location or the collection of personal data. In addition, it is not necessary to add phone numbers, or ID, or name, since the identity will be through a random code. This code is renewed, through Bluetooth itself and it is regenerated in intervals of 10 or 20 minutes . Of course, these codes do not contain any personal identifier with data of the individuals who carry the mobiles.

If two people are found, both devices will collect the code mutually. In this way, these codes are stored so that, if one of the two tests positive, the other person will be able to know that they are at risk of contracting the virus , even if they do not know who the contagion comes from. The person who has tested positive must indicate it in the app by entering the code assigned to him after receiving the test.

Problems derived from the operation of this app

The usefulness of the application in order to control the virus and its contagion in the population is undeniable. In addition, it serves as a support to help human trackers do their job more efficiently and without much chaos. However, it presents a series of difficulties or problems derived from its operation.

And is that the first barrier that we find is that of false positives . The app cannot differentiate them from a real positive, so it alerts potentially infected people to the contact of a positive that really is not. It will surely be solved over time.

In the same way, it presents several problems regarding updates , being impossible in some terminals or operating systems to update the app. It goes without saying that for the Huawei P40 it cannot be downloaded from its App Gallery store, since it depends on Google services, so you have to use an APK to obtain it.


by Abdullah Sam
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